Newswise — LOS ANGELES - As COVID-19 causes staggering unemployment across the Los Angeles region, St. John's Well Child & Family Center is getting a vital reprieve. The South Los Angeles nonprofit will receive a $150,000 grant from Cedars-Sinai to retrain members of its staff who would have been furloughed - and to enlist them in the campaign against the novel coronavirus.
The funding for St. John's comes from Cedars-Sinai's latest round of grants aimed at stabilizing nonprofit organizations in vulnerable communities and putting people back to work during the pandemic. Cedars-Sinai is committing $2 million to 22 programs and organizations that assist those who are most vulnerable to the health and economic impacts of the virus.
The commitment comes on top of $2 million Cedars-Sinai provided in March to support programs providing food, housing and healthcare.
"We are committed to doing everything we can to help underserved populations get the care and services they need during this very challenging time," said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai. "We want to help bring stability to these organizations and the people they employ and serve."
The new round of grants–supporting food assistance, access to healthcare and workforce stability–will meet a variety of pressing needs:
- The United Way of Greater Los Angeles will receive $500,000 to help launch its Health Pathways Expansion Program as part of its broader pandemic relief fund efforts to increase access to medical care for people experiencing homelessness, many of whom are now living in new temporary shelters or motels.
- Planned Parenthood Los Angeles will receive $400,000 to help increase important telehealth services as well as call center support to ensure continuity of care while maintaining physical distancing.
- Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) will receive $50,000 to help procure fresh produce from a network of local, family-owned farms in southern California that can no longer take their produce to markets due to closures. The food is distributed for free at local sites. Through the financial assistance, the farms are able to keep their staffs employed.
- Chrysalis will receive $20,000 to continue helping low-income people and those experiencing homelessness find or retain employment by providing virtual support services such as vocational skills and interview trainings. Chrysalis also will be able to expand its distribution of motel vouchers and grocery store gift cards to maintain stability for clients.
The funding for St. John’s Well Child & Family Center in South Los Angeles will support 800 staff hours per month for six months. Employees who are involved will work as "contact tracers," identifying and monitoring anyone who had contact with individuals testing positive for the virus - a key to California Gov. Gavin Newsom's plans for tracking COVID-19 and reopening the state.
The program will focus on St. Johns' largest testing site, the Williams Clinic, and a mobile unit that serves people experiencing homelessness in South LA shelters.
"We must use the most effective public health strategies to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the historically underserved communities of South Los Angeles," said Jim Mangia, president and CEO of St. John's. "The best way to do this is through contact tracing. The support from Cedars-Sinai allows us to ramp up our Contact Tracing Program by retraining staff to continue serving our community in this manner."
Read more on the Newsroom: Cedars-Sinai Giving More Than $2M to Help Those Affected by COVID-19